A Man’s Age May Play Key Role in Couple’s Infertility

July 08, 2008 12:54 PM
by Rachel Balik
A recent study found lower pregnancy rates and increased risk of miscarriage in couples where the man was over 35.

30-Second Summary

Among 12,000 couples being treated for infertility in France with intrauterine inseminations (IUI), the rate of successful pregnancy was lower when the female partner was over 35. However, it was also lower when the male was over 35. "How DNA damage in older men translates into clinical practice has not been shown up to now,” researcher Dr. Stephanie Belloc said. “Our research proves for the first time that there is a strong paternal age-related effect on IUI outcomes….”

The study also found that there was a greater incidence of miscarriage in partners of older men. Belloc says that the finding indicate it might be wise for couples with just one older partner to try fertility treatments.

At the same time, couples should not put off pregnancy because they assume that they can depend on fertility treatments. Many women think that having children when they are older won’t be a problem for them, but treatments are expensive, emotionally taxing and not guaranteed to work. “I worry that women will make unwise choices, ” said Dr. Marcelle Cedars, a reproductive endocrinologist.

On the other hand, research done by University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropologist John Hawks suggests that humans are evolving in order to have children later: “The bottom line: people are unlikely to live much longer in the future—at least, due to genetic changes—but they are likely to be better at having kids older.”

Headline Link: 'Father's Age a Factor in Infertility'

Opinion and Analysis: Is It Safe to Wait?


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